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Re: A Fresh Look at Accommodating Cognitive Disabilities

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 11:22:15 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Greg Gay <g.gay@utoronto.ca>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Greg Gay,

	The "good surprise" when I got back to e-mail after a week at the beach,
was your analysis of the problems of accommodating the needs of those with
cognitive disabilities, especially learning disabilities! I would like to
learn more about your model for special ed teachers. I look forward to your
input into this knotty issue, and agree with much of what you suggest. But,
I have a concern. 

	It seems you seem rely on TTS as a major accommodation for these users. In
my many years teaching learning disabled high schoolers, I spent a lot of
time emphasizing the use of "visual aids" in reading material, such as
pictures, photos, maps, graphs, tables, as well as titles, subtitles, bold
and italicized text, etc, teaching poor readers to comprehend paragraph
style writing by using non-paragraph elements to get to the meat of the
information. Since TTS devices seem to divorce the visual elements from the
text, and do a lousy job with tables that include boxed (non-linear)
information, I don't see TTS as an appropriate accommodation for this
population, or at least those parts of it with whom I've had experiences
both professionally and personally. My professional experiences in rural
schools, with poor medical services during early childhood, resulted in
many learning disabled students who were unable to use auditory input in
lieu of reading, so I question the ability of TTS to provide adequate
accommodation by itself. Perhaps you are working with a more advanced TTS



At 09:05 PM 4/22/2000 -0400, Greg Gay wrote:
>Hello Everyone
>Iím just getting back to the gl list after being away for quite some
>time. Wendy suggested at CSUN that I offer some input into the
>discussion on guidelines for accessible design practices that
>accommodate cognitive disabilities. It turns out I have some
>experience on the topic <grin>.
>Over the past week Iíve had a chance to go through the last month or
>so of discussion, and have managed to gathered a few thoughts. There
>are many more than I care to post as a list message, so Iíll point to a
>The draft suggests a model for developing content authoring
>guidelines to promote accessibility for those with cognitive
>disabilities. The WCAG are interpreted in a cognitive model.
>Many of the ideas I talk about, and the basis for the model, are the
>result of a web-based course Iíve spent the past several years
>developing. The ultimate goal of the course is for participating
>teachers to develop and pass on process-oriented learning skills to
>their students. Though originally aimed at developing adaptive
>behaviour in students with learning disabilities, the skills learned can
>be equally effective for other students.  The site is created to be
>navigable in a variety of ways, and presents materials in multiple
>formats, among many other accessibility features.
>Good to be back!
Anne L. Pemberton
Enabling Support Foundation
Received on Friday, 28 April 2000 11:22:50 UTC

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